Maintaining a car can be a costly proposition so here are a few simple checks that anyone can carry out which will which will help with the efficient running of your car:
I would recommend at least once a week giving your tyres a check over, firstly inflating the tyres to the correct pressure, which can be found in the owners manual or on a tyre placard located on the vehicle,. Maintaining the correct tyre pressures extends the life of the tyre, improves fuel efficiency and contributes to the safe handling of the vehicle so is therefore very important, and a fact that is often overlooked. Tyre tread depth is also crucial: The legal minimum tread depth in this country is 1.6mm. Tyre tread depth gauges can be purchased from most car accessory shops and are well worth investing in. Low tyre tread depths can be very derogatory to the safe handling of your car. If you have any doubts about your tyre pressures or tread depths you should contact your local garage whom I am sure will be pleased to advise you.
Using a tyre tread gauge
The tread is measured over the central ¾ of the tyre
Tread wear indicators on a tyre
Engine oil level is very important for the health of your engine; it is used to lubricate all the major internal components of your engine. If the level is too low, oil will drop and could cause expensive engine damage, if the level is too high, oil pressure will increase, which again could lead to engine damage. Checking the oil level is quite simple; the car needs to be on level ground and be left for at least ten minutes after driving before an accurate reading can be taken; remove the oil dipstick ( the location of which can be found in the owner’s manual) and wipe off the oil using a rag or tissue. There will be two marks near the bottom of the dipstick indicating the maximum and minimum oil levels. Re-insert the dipstick and again remove it. The oil level should be visible on the end of the dipstick. If the level is between the maximum and minimum levels then no further action needs to be taken. If, however, the level is below the minimum level marker then oil needs to be added. To do this, select the correct oil grade for your vehicle (you will find this in the owner’s manual) and carefully top up the oil through the filler cap at a quarter of a litre at a time, allowing five minutes between topping up and re-checking the level. If, on the other hand, the oil level is too high, do not start the car and contact your local garage.
Engine coolant is used by the engine to prevent overheating and it is therefore important to keep the coolant at the correct level. The coolant level should ONLY BE CHECKED WHEN THE ENGINE IS COLD. Most cars utilise an expansion reservoir/bottle as a means of allowing the coolant to expand and contract as the engine heats up and cools down. It also allows for an easy way of checking the coolant level. Locating the bottle may require a quick check in your owner’s manual. When you have located it make sure the coolant is between the minimum and maximum level. NEVER REMOVE THE COOLANT BOTTLE CAP WHEN THE ENGINE IS HOT AS THIS COULD CAUSE SERIUOS INJURY. If the coolant requires topping up, use a suitable coolant/water mixture. The correct coolant liquid to use can again be found in your owner’s manual, or if you have any doubts, contact your local garage.
Screenwash is essential for maintaining good visibility through your windscreen enabling you to see any potential oncoming problems. You can buy pre-mixed screenwash which can be put straight into the screenwash bottle ( again, for the location, refer to owner’s manual) or concentrated screenwash which will need to be diluted with water according to the instructions on the packaging.
Under the bonnet of a Ford Fiesta
If you have any doubts about anything on your car, speak to the experts and give your local garage a call.
The maintenance tips should be used in conjunction with regular servicing, as outlined in your car’s service schedule, and be carried out by qualified professionals.
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